tv Headline News RT May 6, 2013 8:00pm-8:31pm EDT
coming up on r t the guantanamo bay hunger strike reaches the three month mark how much longer will this last and how does it get to this point we'll dive into that topic just ahead. the syrian war might have turned a serious corner after reports surface of the use of chemical weapons but who is behind the sarin gas that question might not have a straightforward answer a deeper look at the latest developments coming up. and the private space industry continues to shoot for the stars from trips to the international space station to possible asteroid mining and even putting people on mars look at the efforts to make money in the new space race.
it's monday may sixth eight pm in washington d.c. i'm maggie lopez and you are watching our t.v. starting off this hour out of the shadows of military limbo and into the spotlight of american political debate for years the government has ignored cries to close guantanamo bay to end the do to have indefinite detention there and to stop the torture at that facility but u.s. officials and the american public are paying attention now why is that and while a massive drawn out hunger strike involving over sixty percent of the detainees twenty three of whom are now being force fed through a nasal tube the guantanamo bay hunger strike is interim its third month and still no end in sight negotiation attempts up until this point have failed in the situation is becoming a life or death decision for many of these detainees so what will it take for the standoff to be resolved well i was joined earlier by colonel morris davis he's a former guantanamo bay official and current professor of law at howard university
and he started off by talking about the options that the obama administration has to end this growing hunger strike. well i think right now the administration has two bad choices either force feed people which is in violation of medical ethics or just stand there and let them die i think the solution is is to honor their word and close guantanamo is as you know a majority the men at good move been cleared to be transferred out you know eighty six of the one sixty six so they could they landed a plane but the fifty six humanities that have been clear to you many government wants back send them home and i think that would in the hunger strike if they saw some positive steps forward and not just being forgotten for years and us talk about the short term demands of days of these detainees as i understand it at first started off with them just wanting their cells not be searched and for proper or proper handling of their holy text the koran is there anything else that's coming out of this well i think part of it is as well has been the just being forgotten they've spent you know in some cases more than
a decade sitting there in many cases cleared for years and being held because of their citizenship and i think it was a sense of frustration so it started over the searching of the cranston i think it spread beyond that to an opportunity to get some attention called to their plight and it's unfortunate the said commentary on america that it takes putting your life in jeopardy to get anyone to pay attention at the same time we have seen so many people we've heard of cases of detainees dying while in their custody at guantanamo bay and that didn't change policy so if one or two or several of these inmates and these detainees actually die well it change anything well i hope it doesn't come to that i mean you're right more people have died at guantanamo they've been convicted at guantanamo so i mean that's not the way to find out the population is by attrition but you know the president brought this up last week at his press conference that he still wants to close it said all the right things laid out all the right reasons for why it's a bad idea we started the petition it will be
a week tomorrow and we've had almost one hundred fifty thousand people that changed backslash clothes. that have come on board and said it's time to close guantanamo so there there is no good reason to keep it open to me fiscally policy was legal was there is no good reason to keep kuantan i'm open now you perhaps hear good points one thing i do want to ask you is why do you think it is that president obama keeps reiterating this promise to close it and yet no action has been done what could he or the american people possibly gain from those reiterated promises just the words are going to do anything it's going to take some action and he's to the right word since two thousand and seven that you know he wants to close guantanamo there's an abomination to discredit to the country it does a lot of harm as a recruiting tool for extremists so he said the right thing for a number of years and perhaps maybe was happened critically maybe as he said of president bush's library dedication where people discuss the bush legacy maybe it made him stop and think about the obama legacy does he want to be remembered as the
a president that condemned guantanamo and then for eight years kept it open now i do want to bring up a chart kind of showing the number of inmates that are currently residing in the guantanamo bay detention facility so as i can see from the two thousand and here to two thousand and thirteen the numbers have gone down there are still people there but the numbers are going down is this possibly a forward movement in your opinion are is it the fact that it's still open a black mark on the u.s. well think it's a black mark on the u.s. i mean if you look recently china issued a human rights report criticized the u.s. for guantanamo you had president putin in russia you know when the u.s. blocked diplomats from coming here he said he was to us to criticize us and they have kuantan him out. and so there's no real upside to keeping it open and we have prisons here that can handle the detainees that need to be confined we have federal courts that have successfully prosecuted hundreds of terrorism cases all the
military commissions have floundered for eleven years we've got eighty six people that have been cleared for transfer we need to send them home the one sick. can't leave like the chinese weavers for muta took in some detainees the u.s. has never taken or won and we're supposed to be the home of the braves who had to be at least as brave as bermuda and finally i want to ask you about your petition very quickly you said that you have one hundred fifty five thousand signatures that were approaching one hundred fifty dollars just a little as one hundred forty seven thousand and change but we're approaching one hundred fifty thousand after less than a week that's quite impressive and after one hundred thousand signatures if i'm correct the president has to respond right this is on changed or are you going to move it to a place where the president has to respond i don't know i mean hopefully this will make make him pay attention to this just. you know the liberal left and we've been a lot of people that have come on board and signed retired admirals retired judge advocate general's of the service retired state department intelligence community folks nick kristoff from the new york times
a lot of folks have come on board and sign this petition urging him to keep his word and close guantanamo once and for all all if there's one thing that we are learning is that this is just the beginning of a very long process in order to close it we're going to have to say how it develops but obviously these men and these detainees that are on the hunger strike are not backing down colonel morris davis he is a professor of law at howard university thank you for joining us. well in the fog of war there is always a lot of confusion about right forces wrong and who is responsible for what atrocities the line between good and bad heroes and villains is oftentimes blurred the civil war in syria is no exception the united nations independent commission of inquiry on syria has compiled evidence suggesting that rebel forces and not president assad's army might have been the ones using chemical weapons the investigators interviewed doctors and victims as well as witnesses about the use of the nerve agent sarin gas in the country and investigator carla del ponte to
actually told the b.b.c. that there is quote strong concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertibly proof that rebels were using the gas since then the u.n. commission of inquiry on syria has stated that they have not yet confirmed this fully but i was trying earlier by our to correspondent on a stasia charkha and i asked her to tell us what this commission is and what the latest developments coming out of it are. well let me get these developments are certainly very significant when it comes to the whole syrian crisis this commission in particular it was established back in august two thousand and eleven it's geneva based and comprises really big experts are veterans of human rights and the goal of this commission is to follow the human rights allegedly human rights violations taking place in syria and particularly with this rapist revolution we are in fact hearing from the commission saying that they have gathered enough testimony from casualties and local doctors on the ground treating the injured in syria basically
showing enough proof enough suspicions as they say to claim that the rebel groups the opposition groups are using sarin gas a chemical weapon considered a weapon of mass destruction on the ground this is of course against international law and they did themselves say that they are kind of flabbergasted by discovering this and in fact they are not saying that it's the syrian government as the u.s. has been claiming that's using chemical weapons but in fact the opposition groups so honest also when can we expect those of findings to come out the final decision from this inquiry. well let me get this is a work in process of course as we both mentioned this is not been firmed up yet and they're working on finding more evidence at this point on their next report is expected to come out next month which should shed more light on exactly what because we still they haven't said anything on when these instances took place and how they took place so this is yet to come but you know it's important to note that all of this comes at a time when just days after the west started really beating its chest saying that
the syrian government the assad regime has been using chemical weapons with. so-called as they called it a varying degrees of confidence so that this is definitely a big game changer and if this position the claim from this international commission is supported by facts and if they do this is definitely a good big game changer when it comes to this. in crisis i don't want to talk to you on one hand we had president obama come out last week and say the same exact thing that you just said that there are varying degrees of confidence that he's willing to put all of his eggs in one basket and say concretely that this is being used by the all assad regime but in the press conference today white house press secretary jay carney. findings so why is the u.s. outwardly rejecting this report without possibly looking into it further maybe you know that's a good question in fact yes the white house statement was that they're highly skeptical about this latest reports but you know the answer to this question
a simple the united states has a specific kind of line of interest in this in this crisis and of course remind our viewers there has been a major kind of standoff between russia china versus the u.s. and the west in particular at the united nations where they were trying to kind of find some kind of solution to the syrian crisis because russia has been blocking any attempts from the u.s. and the west to try to put in place a regime change in syria and so you know it's not in america's interest to support this line too to say that it's actually the rebels and not the syrian government as they have been claiming that is now said to have been used chemical weapons and of course also importantly this week u.s. secretary of state is going to be in moscow trying to argue the case that chemical weapons are used by the syrian government in moscow to convince more to try to convince moscow to change its position something that's going to be very hard to do with especially these latest statements and on a stasia we have heard over the weekend a bunch of republican senators actually come out with graham and john mccain and
mike rogers all saying that the red line has been crossed in that u.s. needs to take decisive action they all were very hesitant to say that boots need to be on the ground but that yes decisive action needs to happen and considering the fact that this information is still coming out a lot of critics are comparing this to the weapons of mass destruction claims in iraq can you talk a little bit more about that. right me and that's an interesting comparison definitely one that comes to mind because the iraq war was started under false pretenses claiming the existence of weapons of mass destruction that were never to be found later and in this particular case again we're hearing the w m d cheers used as a pretense to kind of you know rally up the public opinion when it comes to the syrian crisis and certainly the comparison is legitimate and it is quite dangerous according to many analysts to try to take any further steps without establishing exactly who it was and how and what kind of chemical weapons if any were used so definitely you know while the republicans are cheering the usual to win certainly
many people are asking for cautious and the cautiousness and that's certainly something that hopefully the officials will consider. specifically here in the united nations for one that was r.t. correspondent ana stasio with that report and this independent u.n. commission report isn't the only development coming out of syria over the weekend israel launched an airstrike on a military complex just outside of the syrian capital of damascus. at least forty two soldiers were killed in the attacks according to information from military hospitals but the exact numbers of deceased are still yet to be released this is the third air strike israel has conducted on the country this year although the government has yet to formally confirm that it was actually involved in these strikes now in the past israeli officials have said that they will use force to prevent the transfer of advanced iranian weapons into the hands of
hezbollah militia for more r.t. international correspondent paula slayer brings us this report. the israeli military is still refusing to confirm or deny reports that it was responsible for these trying to hide in the in the early hours of sunday morning but if you asked this about any israelis here almost all of them will tell you that they do believe that the israelis were responsible for that operation while it's still not clear exactly how many people were killed it is expected that more than one hundred died on sunday morning now thirty one has said that it will not accept a breach of the sovereignty or security and they have turned the artillery to face towards israel the syrian deputy foreign minister sides i'll make said says that the attack is a declaration of war and as such syria will respond in its own time and its own weight we are being told as serious as that war options on the table although no details have been given as to what exactly this means iran which has
a defense agreement with syria has also said that it will respond and it is urging neighboring countries to stand up to what is called israeli aggression now the so and president bashar assad has reportedly given the clear orders to all missile operators as well as anti aircraft of weapons officers to react to what he says are any unknown objects regardless of the type or based force immediately and without any reference to a high administration that is also reported to have said that he will allow any palestinian organizations operating in his country to wage attacks against israel from the golan heights so that is why you have something that is all seems to have shot itself in the foot essentially because now the northern israeli border is very vulnerable it's looking much more vulnerable than of was just a few days ago but the israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu has not commented on the issue the only comments he's made some sunday is that israel israeli security is paramount now is wrong and says that it was targeting
a military convoy that the israelis say was making its way from iraq. to syria to his been on the syrian say something quite different they say that one of the targets was a military research same time on the outskirts of damascus damascus on monday evening two mortars fell from syria and landed on the israeli side of the going on high it's now these radio has lodged a complaint with the united nations although they say that they don't believe that the shells were purposely directed at israel but would want to stray and israel has opened the no fly zone that it imposed in the north of the country although lebanese media is reporting right now that israeli air force planes operating in a binny's space the lebanese army has significantly fortified itself along the lebanese israeli border and unique for the united nations interim force in lebanon it has heightened the illusion of its troops in the area to see on television.
while the days of tax free shopping on the internet are coming to a close the u.s. senate passed a bill today to impose a tax on shoppers buying goods online the bill is known as the marketplace fairness act and it is backed by senators on both sides of the aisle as well as numerous retailers across the country it requires retailers whose profits topped one million dollars to collect local sales taxes joining me now to talk about what this means for your wallet our chief correspondent margaret howell thank you for joining me now margaret for years people have been dealing with this in the real world in terms of buying gifts or or actually buying things for themselves event was this online sales tax just inevitable or inevitable no magen now we live in a consumer driven market and this bill does more than level the playing field for consumers and businesses alike when i went to the senate floor today to listen to these arguments both for and against why we need this bill there are several questions that are left unanswered which is concerning for me so let's talk about
what exactly this bill establishes ok certainly so well first of all this bill is great for be. businesses like wal-mart and amazon the bill would establish essentially a universal tax on all all online sales which means that the small businesses who maybe aren't aren't offering or aren't making their customers pay that would be forced to also states that don't have the brick and mortar stores can can go after online businesses that are doing commerce with their citizens sure enough president obama and numerous other congress members as well as retailers like amazon and wal-mart as you said all support this bill who is against it and why well let me start by saying that most businesses are entrepreneurial they're micro businesses they're in very specialized areas and they have you know they have to do everything they can to cut overhead now business is like the wal-mart giant in the amazon giant who did lobby for this bill and it's one big giant tax mandate and these
taxes they're already paying them they want to see their counterparts pay just as they are which could put a lot of people out of business now at the same time state and local economies have to earn their revenues somewhere and the fact is that more and more people are turning to the internet i mean cyber monday alone last year cyber monday just for those who don't know is the internet equivalent of black friday they had one hundred twenty nine million americans actually shop online online shopping has grown itself to a two hundred twenty six billion dollar a year industry so is this a means of leveling the playing field in terms of getting everyone on the same page for taxing them well yes meghan it is proponents say yes but if it does more than just do that if it just did that it may be ok this is what it does that's alarming states like new hampshire that don't currently have a sales tax this law would require them to collect and split potential revenue with other states so they become a tax collector for other states essentially which can create a problem if you think about it sure now obviously there's
a lot of critics for and against this a lot of the republican side of the our aisle was actually. against this along with i know internet retailer e-bay was against this so let's talk about the critics that argue about the fact that this is going to hurt small businesses on the internet what about small businesses in the real world realm and does it help their business potentially to tax everyone fairly well it doesn't it doesn't so those brick and mortar stores that are essentially in the realm of states now they reap tax deductions they see benefits already that online stores just don't see so it terms of leveling the playing field this bill in my opinion just doesn't do that what it's going to do essentially is force small businesses to pay up when maybe they can't which we could see the bennett you know the reaping the hazard lee effects of this in my opinion is there any indication as to how this tax system
will work obviously there can be a retailer selling it in one state the manufacturer can be in another state and it could be shipping out of a third state so who earns those taxes certainly well in answer to your question everybody which creates the math and i love that you brought that up because it's so critical i want to give you. a microcosm example here california they can audit up until six years they have that law in the books that says we can audit businesses for six years we can go after the business we can demand their consumer data and that is a big deal because you have california wanting to fork over i mean one senator said that on the floor today he said the audits would be overwhelming for this bill and i think its rights are to correspondent margaret how we know that this bill is now moving from the senate which passed in the senate sixty nine to twenty seven and is now heading to the house of representatives i'm sure you'll be keeping us updated thank you. all right well shooting for the stars paying out of pocket ever since president obama decided to end the shuttle program we have watched one private
group after another step up to fill nasa shoes there have been some historic and exciting developments from space exploration experts and americans are beginning to get that sense of all back again when it comes to the possibilities that the final frontier has to offer r.t. correspondent liz wahl flew down to new mexico and she found out what these private space programs are working on here's her report. here in the remote desert of the old west an entrance to the final frontier. spaceport america in southwest new mexico was described as the world's first purpose built commercial space port sort of similar to the airline industry only this is the space line industry conditions here are ideal for a commercial space port we are at an altitude of bor thousand six hundred feet so for space travelers that means the first mile is free as you can see it's a very remote location with a low population and over the san andreas mellons is the white sands missile range
so that is where the u.s. army test launches missiles making this location one of the only places in the u.s. with light restricted so far the space ports main tenant is virgin galactic this version galactic gateway to space building is set to serve as their headquarters it was spelled specifically for virgin galactic who is our incur tenant much like delta airlines is in atlanta. virgin galactic recently test launch its space ship two in the mojave desert it's a milestone for the company that plans to be the first to send paying customers on sub orbital joyrides their passengers are going to have quite a ride when they'll be able to experience weightlessness at that altitude take off their seat belts and float around a little bit so it's going to be really quite an experience the price tag for the out of this world experience two hundred thousand dollars so far hundreds of people
have put in their down payments of twenty thousand dollars among them celebrities like ashton kutcher and angelina jolie a sign that as space travel becomes privatized the face of astronauts as we know it will change i believe they've sold virgin galactic has sold five hundred seventy five tickets to date and i believe that's more than all the people that have ever been in space so it's pretty exciting to that think that. time is now as of now only the russian space agency has transported private citizens to space and only a handful of astronauts have been to space as part of a private venture greg olsen is one of them it was a life changing experience for me you know i launched on a russian soyuz rocket from kazakhstan. as you know nasa doesn't do private citizens into space the only way you can do that is through ross cosmos the russian space agency so i got to train in russia for six months for astronauts like olson the opening of space to private passengers is exciting especially as the future of
government space programs in the u.s. is answer and other companies also are going to begin launches a next year or two so i think the opportunities for tourists are great companies like space x. early march they launch their dragon capsule capable of sending seven people to a space station for now space entrepreneurs won't set an exact date for when they'll send the first paying passenger to space virgin galactic estimates it will happen in two thousand and fourteen but as the space race becomes more of a private business venture those with their eyes about the skies hope the competition will be healthy i think it will help international cooperation because you know if there's anything competitive about it this is the kind of competition we should be having is that a law that each other in new mexico. r.t. well sense a day is a nine eleven there have been growing concerns over the government's new some
possible abuse of wiretaps as well some of the other ways that our civil liberties have been threatened but this battle over wiretaps began well before that national tragedy happened it just wasn't in the spotlight as much that is these days the residents laurie harmfulness tells us more. under the electronic communications privacy act as nine hundred ninety four the us federal government can easily obtain archived copies of your e-mails and under the wiretap act the f.b.i. can ask website to give quote technical assistance necessary to accomplish the
interception of what could be criminal conversation but much to the chagrin of the f.b.i. still under current legislation as it stands they can't force many tech companies into providing real time wiretaps for all those instances you see communications people have that includes e-mail g. chat type dropbox google voice and even days like words with friends which has chat features you know stuff that happens in real time according to f.b.i. general counsel andrew weissman and quote those communications are being used for criminal conversations yep that's definitely how i use words with friends a spokesperson for google confirmed that it is possible for companies to set up live surveillance under certain circumstances that they want but how to do so would vary from company to company and could be extremely hard on some smaller companies to comply with what the f.b.i.
very much wants to be able to force companies to set up realtime surveillance at the f.b.i. as thirty and apparently they are currently working with members of the intelligence community to craft a proposal that would give them. new internet spying powers under the draft proposal according to an anonymous insider a court took levy a series of escalating find starting it tens of thousands of dollars on companies that fail to comply with real time wiretap orders after ninety days fines that remain unpaid would double daily. obviously companies studying up wiretaps on their service it is scary from a privacy perspective i don't want anyone seeing what i text to my friend when i drop seven letter words out of them and words with friends but more than that these wire taps could also be susceptible to a text from hackers who just want to use the wiretaps to try on people or gain
sensitive information like your credit card number. as one senior councilman from the center for democracy in technology put it they might as well call the proposal the cyber insecurity an anti employment act as it would drive innovators overseas personally i have another name they can call this gary proposal business as usual in washington tonight let's talk about that by following me on twitter at the residence. all right and that does it for now for more on the stories we covered go to youtube dot com slash our to america check out our web site of science are to dot com slash usa and follow me on twitter at meghan underscore lopez.
world's leading. science technology innovation all the latest developments from around russia we've gone to the future covered let me let me i want to know what all let me ask you a question from. here on this network is where we're having the debate we have our knives out. but if you feel this right what's the best thing never get here in a situation where be united way to talk about your name and me.